The Presidential Mansion Gardens occupy an area of about 25,000 square metres (just over 6 acres) and constitute a green haven in the centre of Athens. In the middle of the nineteenth century, this area, because of its especially fertile soil, was in fact the vegetable garden of the former Royal Palace (Crown Prince’s Palace, now the Parliament building), designed by Ernst Ziller.
After the erection of the mansion in 1897 and the construction of Herodou Attikou Street, the area which surrounded the Crown Prince’s Palace was fashioned into a large ornamental garden. The planning of this appears to have been assigned to Ziller’s technical office. The selection of suitable plants, though, apparently was entrusted to a Greek specialist, since most of the trees are native to Greece.
From the very beginning, the garden was divided into two large sections because of the slope of the land. The building is situated in the upper section.
The design of the garden in front of the building was similar to that of other neo-classical structures of the period (the Academy, the University and the National Library). The gardens follow a relatively rigid geometric plan of the French type, with symmetrical beds of grass and seasonal flowering plants. The formalism of the composition approaching Herod Atticus Road is alleviated by the perennial plane trees, lindens, palms and cypress trees.
Admission at the Presidential Mansion Gardens is free, with the display of a police identity card or passport.